The rotation of the seasons of life helps us to reflect on the holy days that frame our faith, Advent and Christmas, and then Lent and Easter. These create a rhythm for our spiritual lives.
Lent is traditionally observed as the 40-day period that leads up to Easter. During the Lenten season, we take time for self-examination, asking God to help us reflect on our lives and make the changes we need to make. Starting with Ash Wednesday, we mark the events that led to Jesus’ death and resurrection, including Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday, until we observe the hope and redemption ushered in on Easter morning.
When we usher in the season of Advent in December, we celebrate the beginning of the church year. Each Sunday in Advent, families from the congregation light a new candle on the Advent wreath as we prepare for the birth of Christ. We offer a healing service each December for those who may be struggling with loss, grief, depression, or other challenges that feel sharper during the holiday season. On Christmas Eve we hold our 4:00pm family pageant service and two candlelight services, 8:00pm with the Senior Choir, and 10:00pm with the Youth Choir.
Welcome Sunday is the official start of the church program year. Held at 10:00am on the first Sunday after Labor Day, Welcome Sunday is always filled with the excitement of renewing old friendships and making new ones. We anticipate another year of growing in faith together. After worship, all are invited to a picnic luncheon in the churchyard.
On the Sunday closest to All Saints Day, we pause to remember the saints dear to us who have died in the previous year. With the recitation of names and the tolling of a bell, we pause to remember those who have touched our lives and have now joined the cloud of witnesses that surrounds us and supports us with love.
Village Church and sister congregation Charles Street AME Church in Roxbury carry on the tradition of worshiping together on the Sunday before Martin Luther King Jr. Day. We gather each year to blend our congregations, choirs and preaching for a Sharing the Dream service and lunch. Our congregations take turns hosting the event in alternate years. As we persist ever mindful of working toward Dr. King’s dream, we have shared not only worship, but also Bible study, small group gatherings, dinners, and service projects together.
The labyrinth at Village Church is painted on the hardwood floor of our Chapel and adds another dimension of prayerfulness to this treasured sacred space. It is an invitation to quiet the mind and open the heart, to allow our footsteps to carry us on this meandering and meditative path of prayer. We use the labyrinth for small worship services, healing circles, monthly open walks, Lenten and Advent programs, and other special occasions. Youth groups and confirmation classes use it as a part of their programs, other church and community groups have come to walk together, and we even once had a wedding take place in its center.